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THE PHARISEES ALSO CAME UNTO HIM, TEMPTING HIM, AND SAYING

UNTO HIM, IS IT LAWFUL FOR A MAN TO PUT AWAY HIS WIFE FOR EVERY CAUSE ?

AND HE ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM, HAVE YE NOT READ, THAT HE WHICH MADE THEM AT THE BEGINNING, MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE ; AND SAID, FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THEY TWAIN SHALL BE One Flesh ? WHEREFORE THEY ARE NO MORE TWAIN BUT ONE FLESH. WHAT THEREFORE, GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER, THEY SAY UNTO HIM, WHY DID MOSBS, THEN, COMMAND TO GIVE A WRITING OF DIVORCEMENT, AND TO PUT HER AWAY? HE SAITH UNTO THEM, MOSES BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS, SUFFERED YOU TO PUT AWAY YOUR WIVES ; BUT FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO. AND I SAY UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER SHALL PUT AWAY HIS WIFE, except IT BE FOR FORNICATION, AND SHALL MARRY ANOTHER, COMMITTETH ADULTERY: AND WHOSO MARRIETH HER, WHICH IS PUT AWAY, DOTH COMMIT ADULTERY. HIS DISCIPLES SAY UNTO HIM, IF THE CASE OF THE MAN BE SO WITH HIS WIFE, IT IS NOT GOOD TO MARRY. BUT HE SAID UNTO THEM, ALL MEN CANNOT RECEIVE THIS SAYING; SAVE THEY, TO WHOM IT IS GIVEN

MATTHEW XIX. 3-11.

The next violation of the seventh command which I shall think it necessary to examine at large in this system, is divorce.

one woman.

Were I delivering a formal course of ethical lectures, I should feel myself obliged to extend the same examination to polygamy. As a practical subject in this country, it demands indeed little consideration. But from its inherent importance, and its extensive prevalence in the world; and still more from the fact, that it has been either partially, or wholly, defended by some grave men, it deserves to become a subject of serious consideration. Thinking men ought on such a subject to have their opinions settled. For these reasons, although I cannot expatiate, I feel myself bound to make a few observations upon it in a summary manner.

Polygamy is unlawful, because God in the original Institution of marriage confines it to the union of one man with

• For this cause,' said he, who created them male and female, sball a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. Whom God, therefore, hath joined together let not man put asunder. God hath joined two. This is the only authority under which marriage lawfully exists. Polygamy is, therefore, a violation of the institution of God.

Polygamy appears to be directly forbidden in the Mosaic law, Lev. xviii. 18, Thou shalt not take a wise to her sister, to vex her, in her life time :' or, as it is in the margin, • Thou shalt not take one wife to another. The words ' a wife to her sister,' Dr. Edwards observes, are found in the Hebrew, if I remember right, eight times. In every other passage, except that just quoted, they refer to inanimate objects : such as the wings of the cherubim, tenons, mortices, &c. They seem to denote, principally, the exact likeness of one thing to another; and here forbid, as tbe margin expresses it,' the taking of one wife to another in her life time.'

Polygamy is forbidden in the Prophecy of Malachi. "The Lord bath been witness between thee and the wite of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed,' Mal. i. 14, 15.

The prophet, in this passage, although speaking of all the wives in the nation of Israel, yet mentions the word in the singular number only. Of the union of one husband with one wife he declares God to have been witness; and thus plainly indicates, that this union lawfully extended to no more, In the second verse quoted he asks, ' Did he not make one ?' That is one wife, when he had the residue of the Spirit,' and, could with the same ease have created many, if he 'had pleased. “And wherefore one?' To this question he answers, • That he might seek a godly seed.' In other words, he created one man and one woman, and united them, and them only, in the marriage institution, because one husband and one wife thus united would, by religious education and example, promote piety in their offspring. This is an implicit, but clear and decisive declaration, that in a state of polygamy pious children would very rarely be found. Polygamy therefore cannot be lawful; as being hostile to the design of God in this institution, and to the highest interest of mankind.

Polygamy is expressly forbidden in the text. Here, the man, who puts away bis wife, and marries another, is declared to commit adultery. In what does this adultery consist? Certainly not in putting away the former wife. A man may obviously leave his wife, or a woman her husband, and yet neither of them be at all guilty of this sin. The adultery, then, consists in the fact, that the man marries a second wife while the first is living. But this is always done in polygamy. Polygamy is therefore a continued state of adultery.

There is not a passage in the Scriptures, in which the institution of marriage, or the relation which it creates, is spoken of in the form either of doctrine or precept, which gives even a remote hint of the lawful union of more than two persons. Husband and wife are the terms invariably used in every case of this nature.

A bishop and a deacon, in an age when polygamy was common, are expressly required each to be a husband of one wife. Yet • Marriage is' declared to be • honourable in all.? If polygamy, then, were at all the marriage spoken of, or the scriptural marriage, it would be honourable; and therefore becoming and proper in bishops and deacons; and no reason appears for this restriction on them, any more than on other men.

The only instance of polygamy recorded in the Scriptures, during the first two thousand years after the institution of marriage, was that of Lamech ; and this appears to have been considered by himself, and those around him, as sinful. Noab and his three sons had but one wife each.

All the instances of polygamy, of which the history is given in the Scriptures to any extent, were sources of many and bitter calamities, both to the parents and children.

Equally hostile to this practice is the state of facts.

The numbers of the sexes born, and living to adult years, in all nations and ages, have been so nearly equal, as to indicate plainly the will of the Author of our being, that one man and one woman, only, were to be united as parties in Marriage. This equality is, indeed, denied by Mr. Bruce, with respect to Syria and Arabia ; and with no small appearance of being founded on evidence. But when I remember that it is a contradiction to the law of our nature in all ages, and in all other places; that the fact is mentioned by no ancient or modern historian ; that Mr. Bruce, so far as my information extends, is the only traveller who bas mentioned it; particularly, that it escaped the observations of Shaw, Russel, Maundrel, and especially Nieburh; I cannot help believing that this respectable writer was misled in his apprehensions. It ought to be added, that the knowledge in question must, if attained at all, be from the existing state of society in those countries attained with extreme difficulty, and accompanied with not a little uncertainty. This story is also expressly contradicted by Lord Valentia, who has lately travelled in Arabia.

Polygamy is unfriendly to population.

When the world was to be replenished, under an immediate command of God, with human beings, a single pair was chosen to be the means of accomplishing this design.

When the same design was, under the same command, to be accomplished anew ; God chose the three sons of Noah, and their three wives, as the proper means of fulfilling it.

The Turks are polygamists. They possess all the power, almost all the wealth, and therefore almost all the means of subsistence, found in their empire. Yet they are few in number compared with the Greeks, who marry but one wife, and who, subjected to iron bondage under the despotism of these hard masters, are continually impoverished, and plundered of a precarious subsistence, by their rapacious hands.

Polygamy degrades from their proper rank, privileges, and enjoyments, to an almost animal level, one half of the human race.

This enormous injustice no consideration can excuse, or palliate.

Polygamy has regularly introduced domestic broils of the most bitter kind, terminating in the most fatal manner, and, . involving in their deplorable consequences both the parents and the children. Of this truth complete proofs are found in the few historical accounts which have reached us of the Turkish and Persian royal families.

These considerations, if I mistake not, amply prove, that Polygamy is unlawful, and a direct violation of the seventh command.

I shall now proceed to consider the proper subject of the text. This I shall introduce under the following general observation, as directly expressing the principal doctrine in the text;

That divorces, for any other cause except incontinence, are unlawful.

This important scriptural truth I shall endeavour to support by arguments, derived both from Scripture and reason.

From the Scriptures, I allege,

1. That marriage is a Divine institution ; and is therefore unalterable by man.

That marriage is a Divine institution, has, I apprehend, been made abundantly evident from various parts of this passage, examined in the Discourse on the origin of marriage. It was there proved, if I mistake not, that God has really joined together every lawfully married pair among the children of Adam. That' what God hath' thus 'joined' by his infinite authority man cannot' lawfully put asunder,' needs no illustration. God has made the twain one. Man cannot make them twain again, unless with the evident permission of God.

It is to be observed here, that the translation exactly expresses the meaning of the original in this part of the text : • Let not man put asunder.' The Greek word is ar@pwmsos, without the article: the most absolute and unlimited expression in that language, to denote man universally, without any

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